October 19, 2007
Where the U-Line goes in the east

After yesterday's confusion, I think I finally understand where the Universities line will go on the east end. Today's Chron story clarifies it for me:

The University route approved by the board was a last-minute hybrid.

West of Main it will go, as expected, on Richmond, Cummins and Westpark. For the leg east of Main, Metro staff and consultants had recommended taking the line on Wheeler and Ennis to Alabama and ending it at Scott, beside the University of Houston.

That was a disappointment to several speakers who urged the board to adopt a route continuing north on Ennis to Elgin, then across the Gulf Freeway to the Eastwood Transit Center.

Going to the transit center, they said, would allow easy access to the rail for Park & Ride passengers from the Clear Lake area and bus riders from the East End.

Board chairman David Wolff said Metro wanted to do that but does not have enough money. Continuing the line to the Eastwood Transit Center would add $60 million to the price, he said.

The board also decided not to end the line at Scott and UH. Instead, it will piggyback on the planned Southeast line to Elgin and turn east to the transit center.

So it is going to the Eastwood Transit Center, and that was made possible by the change back to all-light rail. Good. And this is even better:

Building all the lines as light rail, Wolfe said, will allow Metro routes to overlap in other segments. For example, he said, riders on the west end of the University line will be able to go directly to the Galleria because some of the trains will run on the Uptown line tracks on Post Oak.

Awesome. And utterly sensible. I can't wait for construction to get underway. Christof, Houtopia, Houstonist, Miya, Tory, and Metro's blog have more.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on October 19, 2007 to Planes, Trains, and Automobiles